The world advertising industry will be saddened to hear of the death of David Abbott, arguably the greatest British copywriter of all time, who passed away yesterday aged 75.
Droga5 Australia creative chairman David Nobay and head of art Daryl Corps created the above homage to Abbott’s famous poster for The Economist as the most fitting tribute they could think of. Corps worked at Abbott Mead Vickers, while Nobay ran Anthem in London, part of AMV Group, for a spell and had the honor of working under the great man for a week on a pitch.
Abbott started as a copywriter at Mather & Crowther and then at DDB London. In 1966, he was sent to their New York office, then returned to London as a director.
In 1971, he founded French Gold Abbott. In 1978, he founded Abbott Mead Vickers (AMV), and went on to create famous advertising campaigns for clients including Volvo, Sainsbury’s, Ikea, Chivas Regal, The Economist, Yellow Pages, and the RSPCA.
In 1991, BBDO acquired a stake in AMV and appended their name.
Abbott was awarded the D&AD President’s Award in 1986 and The One Club for Art and Copy inducted Abbott into its Creative Hall of Fame in 2001.
His first novel, The Upright Piano Player, was published in 2010 by MacLehose Press.
One of the best compliments paid to Abbott came from Tony Brignull, another great British copywriter, when Abbott won the 1986 D&AD President’s Award: “He and John Webster, who won the award in 1982, are the undisputed masters of British creative advertising of our lifetimes.
“There are a few of us writers around who think of ourselves as the sons of Bill Bernbach. I have a feeling David is the only one who’d pass a blood test.”
Abbott visited Australia in 1987 as a special guest of the AWARD Awards and appeared on the cover of Campaign Brief in October that year.